Zimmer among 5 added to Hall of Fame

Updated: September 17, 2010, 9:36 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Terry Francona lingered on the field to embrace one of the few men who knows what it's like to be a Boston Red Sox manager.

Francona gave a big hug to Don Zimmer when he was enshrined in the team's Hall of Fame before Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Zimmer, who managed the Red Sox from 1976-80, was joined by fellow inductees Tommy Harper, Jimmy Piersall and John Valentin.

Inductee Eddie Kasko was physically unable to attend, and he was represented by his two sons. Joining them was Tom Brunansky, whose catch to end the 1990 regular season and give the Red Sox the AL East title was recognized as a "Memorable Moment."

Francona's father was teammates with Piersall on the 1959 Cleveland Indians. Tito Francona was largely a part-time player before breaking into the lineup that year when Piersall, who suffered from mental illness, needed a day off.

"My dad has some of the best Piersall stories," Francona said. "I don't know if they're true or not, but they're great stories. I've heard them and heard them and heard them and they never get old."

Tito Francona batted a career-high .363 that year.

"I think Jimmy is pretty dear to (baseball people)," Terry Francona said. "My dad said, 'Make sure you give him my best."

Zimmer, who was Joe Torre's bench coach with the New York Yankees, said he heard from his former boss about 90 minutes before the ceremony. Torre told him he was going to step down after the season as the Los Angeles Dodgers' manager.

"He said if I was going into the Hall of Fame, he was quitting," Zimmer said with a chuckle. "Whatever he does, I'm happy for him."

Zimmer said Torre was destined for a Hall of Fame of his own -- the one in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"Definitely," he said.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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